Shoulder dystocia, a birth injury that occurs in 0.2-3% of the population, is a birth injury that residents of Alabama should be aware of. Shoulder dystocia is a birth injury when one or both of the shoulders of an infant gets stuck inside the mother’s pelvis during labor and birth. The arrangement of the child and resulting injury during birth is often discovered only after labor starts, making it more difficult to predict and prevent this injury.
There are, however, certain risk factors that make it more probable that a shoulder dystocia could be experienced, and these should be monitored by the woman’s physician as potential signs that the birth injury could occur. The pre-labor risk factors are macrosomia, preexisting diabetes or gestational diabetes, having shoulder dystocia in a previous pregnancy, being pregnant with twins or more, being overweight before pregnancy or gaining too much weight during pregnancy. Risk factors that are a part of labor include administration of a certain labor-inducing drug, receiving an epidural, having a very short or a very long second stage of labor and having an assisted vaginal birth.
Both the mother and baby can be affected by shoulder dystocia. Problems with the baby include fractures to the arm bones, damage to the nerves that traverse the length of the arm and lack of oxygen to the body. Problems that can occur with the mother include postpartum hemorrhage, tearing of the perineum and uterine rupture. If a physician suspects shoulder dystocia, they may suggest a cesarean birth or suggest movements the mother could do to help open her pelvis before birth.
If an individual or their baby has experienced shoulder dystocia and has had lasting medical issues due to medical malpractice, the individual may be entitled to retribution and damages. An attorney with experience in medical malpractice may be able to help maximize the individual’s receipt of damages.